Polk Street makeover sparks heated debat

By Jonathon Bloom : ABC7news – excerpt – See video attached below.

Polk Street in San Francisco is about to get a makeover to make it safer for cyclists and that’s sparked a hot debate.

http://abc7news.com/video/embed/?pid=498662

Beyond being a haven for shops, bars and restaurants, Polk Street is also one of the only ways to get across that part of the city by bicycle and the city wants to make that a whole lot safer.

At a public hearing, cyclists told stories of getting hit by cars to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which put a face on a sobering statistic.

“Polk Street is one of the six percent of city streets that account for 60 percent of the collisions,” San Francisco MTA spokesman Ben Jose said.

It’s why engineers have worked up a plan to make Polk Street safer on bike and on foot… (more)

RELATED:
Plan to Pluck Parking Places From Polk for Pedalers Panned:

This has not only been a highly contested project, but there is mass confusion of the plan. According to this tape, nothing will happen until next summer 2016. We don’t really know what will happen or when it may happen. The Planning and Building departments are overwhelmed with projects.

 

Not only are the bike lanes highly controversial, many people want to see better enforcement of the traffic rules for bikers. According to official reports, half the accidents involving cyclists are due to their bad behavior and risk taking. Motorists want cyclists to take tests, purchase licenses, and insurance and cover the costs of the bike lanes.

MTC launches interactive website

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission on Wednesday unveiled its new Vital Signs website, vitalsigns.mtc.ca.gov, an interactive tool that Bay Area residents can use to track the region’s progress toward reaching key transportation, land use, environmental and economic policy goals. Residents also can consult the new website to learn more about historical trends, differences and similarities among the Bay Area’s many communities, and how the nine-county region stacks up with other major U.S. metro areas.

MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area… (more)

Coming to 13th Street: SF’s First Downtown Parking-Protected Bike Lane

Aaron Bialick : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

13th Street is set to get a westbound parking-protected bike lane between Bryant and Folsom Streets, among other improvements this spring. Image: SFMTA

San Francisco may get its first downtown parking-protected bike lane on 13th Street this spring. The SFMTA will be taking comments on the plans at a hearing tomorrow morning.

The bike lane would be installed only in the westbound direction of 13th underneath the Central Freeway, from Bryant to Folsom Streets. It would complement the existing eastbound bike lane on 14th Street, providing a safer route on a “key east-west corridor for people biking to destinations like the Caltrain Station, the Mission District, AT&T Ballpark, and the South Beach area in general,” said SFMTA Livable Streets spokesperson Ben Jose… (more)

We saw no notice about this plan. Discovered it when we went to protest the Polk Streetscape Project. Why do they want cyclists near freeway on and off-ramps? This is a dangerous street for cars. There is no reason to have bikes on this street when there are better options nearby.

On further examination, we see that these lanes are the awful design that they have in Golden Gate Park that people detest. Let’s confuse everyone, especially those dreaded out-of town visitor who have the nerve to try to drive in our city by imposing “unique” new confusing bike lanes along-side the freeway access roads. That will be a welcoming experience.

BART rider satisfaction lowest in 16 years

By Denis Cuff : contracostatimes – excerpt

WALNUT CREEK — BART riders’ satisfaction with service has dropped to its lowest level in 16 years because of overcrowded, hot trains and dirty seats and carpets, according to a survey of train riders.

The transit agency said the problems are side effects of record ridership as the recovering economy creates more jobs and more commuters — many of whom can’t find seats on trains or spaces in station parking lots.

“BART is a victim of its own success,” BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said. “We have more people riding our trains than ever, but the same resources to serve them.”… (more)

Uber e-mails reflect company’s brash reputation

By Carol Said : sfgate – excerpt – (includes exhibits and videos)

Uber

Uber reps pose with MADD on the steps on SF City Hall while state judge rules Uber emails are admissible and release them to the public. Uber says they plan to donate $1 to MADD for every person who types in the promo code “Think and Ride.”

Uber’s brash reputation evidently extends to the way its managers talk about drivers. In forceful and sometimes crudely derisive language, Uber bosses discussed when to fire drivers for the on-demand ride service, according to internal company reports and e-mails.

Uber was compelled to produce the documents as evidence for a class-action lawsuit by California drivers seeking to be considered Uber employees rather than independent contractors. The company sought to have them kept under seal but a federal judge ordered them made public. The judge heard arguments Friday about whether the case should be dismissed, but made no ruling.

The documents illuminate a sometimes-contemptuous culture that would make a human resources manager cringe…

A win by the drivers could seriously affect Uber and Lyft’s bottom lines. The companies could be obligated to pay drivers’ operating expenses such as gas and vehicle maintenance. The Uber lawsuit’s lead plaintiff told Reuters that his annual expenses topped $10,000. The companies could also be on the hook for Social Security, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. As of December, Uber had more than 160,000 active U.S. drivers in 161 cities, it said in a report this month. Lyft, which is in 60 cities, has not released its driver numbers.

“They think they’ve come up with a brilliant new model by which they can shift onto workers all the expenses of having a business,” Liss-Riordan said. “California law doesn’t allow them to do that.”…

In Thursday’s hearing on the Lyft drivers’ case, U.S. District Judge Vincent Chhabria said that California law appears to favor the drivers’ contention that they are employees, according to Reuters, but he didn’t issue a ruling… (more)

Ride Share riders and companies oppose AB 612 and AB 2293 which seek to deal with insurance issues. video on CBS channel 13.